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Trump To Order National Guard To Mexican Border, SF Schools Reject NRA Funds

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New Mexico State University's Zuhl Library with Organ Mountains in background.

Trump To Sign Order Sending National Guard To Mexican Border- Associated Press

President Donald Trump and border-state governors are working to "immediately" deploy the National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border to fight illegal immigration, with some troops potentially arriving later Wednesday, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said.

The announcement came hours after Trump pledged "strong action today" on immigration and a day after he said he wants to use the military to secure the southern border until his "big, beautiful wall" is erected.

Trump has been frustrated by slow action on building a wall along the Mexican border. He's previously suggested using the Pentagon's budget to pay for the wall, arguing it is a national security priority, despite strict rules that prohibit spending that's not authorized by Congress.

Utah's Suit Over Mine Spill Transferred To New Mexico Court- Associated Press

A panel of federal judges says Utah's lawsuit over a mine waste spill will be transferred from a Salt Lake City court to one in New Mexico, where three similar suits were filed.

The ruling Wednesday by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation means the suits filed against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and others will be heard in federal court in Albuquerque.

The lawsuits seek unspecified damages from the EPA, government contractors and a mining company over a 2015 spill at the Gold King Mine in Colorado. An EPA-supervised contractor crew inadvertently triggered the spill, which polluted rivers in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.

The other lawsuits were filed by the state of New Mexico, the Navajo Nation and seven residents of Aztec.

New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program Tops 50K Patients – Associated Press

More than 50,000 patients are now participating in New Mexico's medical cannabis program.

The latest figures from the state Health Department show a total of 50,954 patients were enrolled at the end of March. That's an increase of nearly 46 percent from the same time last year.

About half of the patients list post-traumatic stress disorder as a qualifying condition.

Patients must meet at least one of 21 conditions for a medical cannabis card. The other most common qualifying conditions include severe chronic pain and cancer.

State health officials have been careful over the years to expand the list of conditions. Still pending is a petition to allow medical cannabis to be used as a tool in the fight against opioid abuse and the associated withdrawal symptoms.

Santa Fe Schools To No Longer Accept Funding From The NRA- Associated Press

Santa Fe school officials have decided to cut ties with the National Rifle Association, agreeing to no longer accept money or equipment from the organization.

The five-member school board voted unanimously Tuesday to reject NRA grant money that has supported the district's junior ROTC program.

Opponents to the decision said the board would be making a political move and would be dragging the junior ROTC program into the middle of the complex debate.

The district received about $4,000 worth of equipment from the NRA over the past several years.

District Board members said anonymous donors have agreed to cover the grant money for at least two years.

The NRA sent a statement ahead of the vote Tuesday, saying its funding for the district is raised locally.

New Mexico Counties Designated As Drought Disaster Areas – Associated Press

A dozen New Mexico counties have been designated by federal agriculture officials as primary natural disaster areas due to drought.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture made the announcement Tuesday.

The designation allows farmers and ranchers in many areas of the state — from Rio Arriba and Taos counties south to Lea County — to get assistance for losses and damages caused by the dry conditions.

Officials say those in another 15 contiguous counties also qualify for natural disaster assistance.

In all, 27 of New Mexico's 33 counties are affected by the designations.

The seasonal outlook shows drought conditions are expected to persist in New Mexico and much of the Southwest through June.

Court Upholds Dismissal Of Charges In Livestock Fraud Case- Associated Press

An appellate court decision upholds the dismissal of a 2016 fraud indictment against two people who worked at a livestock auction business in Roosevelt County in eastern New Mexico.

The New Mexico Court of Appeals decision issued Monday says District Judge Drew Tatum ruled correctly that Darcie and Calvin Pareo were denied their right under state law to testify before the grand jury that charged them with fraud, conspiracy and other crimes.

The decision says a prosecutor told grand jurors that the defendants wanted to testify and were available but failed to disclose that they had a right to testify.

The decision says prosecutors may seek a new indictment but must inform the grand jury that the defendants have a right to testify if they still wish to.

Former Bernalillo Schools Bookkeeper Pleads Guilty To Fraud- Associated Press

A former Bernalillo Public Schools bookkeeper pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges.

Prosecutors say 45-year-old Antoinette Garcia entered her plea Wednesday in federal court in Albuquerque.

They say Garcia admitted that in 2014 and 2015, she stole between $40,000 and $95,000 intended for the school system.

Garcia admitted stealing funds that were intended to pay for children's education and supplies  by writing checks to herself with school money instead of paying school-related expenses.

She was indicted in the case in June 2017.

Prosecutors say Garcia faces up to 10 years in prison when she's sentenced and must pay restitution as ordered by the court.

A sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled.

Southern New Mexico City Sets Clean Energy Goals Associated Press & Las Cruces Sun News

One southern New Mexico city wants to get all of its electricity from clean energy sources by 2050.

Las Cruces city councilors voted in favor of the resolution Monday.

The measure includes benchmarks for city government to derive 25 percent of its power needs from renewable energy by 2022 and 50 percent by 2030. However, it doesn't specify how the city should go about achieving the goals.

The Las Cruces Sun News reports the city currently pays for much of its electricity from El Paso Electric Co. and gets some power from city-owned facilities that have had solar panels installed in recent years.

The city has eight solar-generating installations, producing about 2.1 million kilowatt hours of power yearly. To reach the first step of the new goal, it will have to produce 9.15 million kilowatt hours.

Dry Conditions Prompt High Fire Rating On Lincoln ForestAssociated Press

Officials on the Lincoln National Forest in southern New Mexico say temperatures are heating up and the winds are drying things out, meaning the potential for wildfire is increasing.

Due to the conditions, forest officials have decided to raise the fire danger rating to high starting Friday.

The designation will cover the entire forest, including the Smokey Bear, Sacramento and Guadalupe ranger districts.

The designation means fine dead fuels will ignite readily and fires will start easily from most causes. Unattended brush and campfires also are likely to escape, fires will spread rapidly and short-distance spotting is common.

Still, officials say there are no fire restrictions in place on the forest.

New Mexico Court Of Appeals Uphold Navajo Water SettlementAssociated Press

The New Mexico Court of Appeals has upheld a major legal settlement that allocates water rights from the state's largest river to the Navajo Nation.

In an opinion Tuesday signed by three judges, the appeals court rejected a challenge to the settlement by more than 20 community water and irrigation districts in the San Juan River basin. The water districts claimed the resources from the San Juan River are not needed for troubled Navajo irrigation systems.

The appeals court said Indian tribes are not required to prove immediate beneficial use of water, and ordered sanctions against an attorney for the water districts for attempting to discredit the work of a district court judge on the case.

Congress approved the Navajo water rights settlement in 2009. State approval followed in 2013.

Texas Man Indicted In Death Of New Mexico Teenager Last YearAssociated Press

A Texas man has been indicted in the death of a New Mexico teenager last year.

Prosecutors say a Santa Fe County grand jury Tuesday indicted 20-year-old Jordan Anthony Nuñez on abuse of a child resulting in death, tampering with evidence and conspiracy and obstructing the reporting or investigation of child abuse or neglect.

It's unclear if Nuñez, of Hereford, has a lawyer yet.

Authorities say the body of 13-year-old Jeremiah Valencia was found buried off a rural highway in New Mexico last November and the boy had endured years of abuse that included being locked for hours inside a dog kennel.

Nuñez's father also has been arrested in connection with the boy's death.

Authorities say he was dating Valencia's mother, who also has been charged in the case.

Man Who Threw Banana Peel At Dave Chappelle Sues ComedianAssociated Press

A man who threw a banana peel at Dave Chappelle during a 2015 performance in Santa Fe is suing the comedian and a man presumed to be his bodyguard.

Christian Englander's lawsuit filed Friday contends the presumed bodyguard struck Englander twice as he was being restrained.

Englander, who is white, has said he had no racial motivation when he threw the banana peel at Chappelle, who is black, but was angered by something Chappelle said during the show.

Englander faced charges of battery and disturbing the peace, but they were dropped because Chappelle was unwilling to participate in the prosecution.

Englander's claim he was assaulted wasn't mentioned in the police report, but his lawyer said it would have been raised if Englander went on trial.

Chappelle's publicist Carla Sims did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Report Solar Innovation Could Mean Jobs For New Mexico - By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

A California-based public policy group says New Mexico has the potential to create several thousand more jobs over the next decade if it focuses on the high-tech side of the evolving solar industry.

The American Jobs Project released its report Tuesday, touting the state's connection to two national laboratories, research universities and abundant sunshine.

The nonprofit group's recommendations include improving access to capital and bolstering commercialization of innovations made at the labs and universities like coatings and flexible solar cells.

The report also notes that New Mexico lost one-quarter of its manufacturing jobs since the start of the recession.

Jeff Mitchell with the University of New Mexico's Bureau of Business and Economic Research says the idea isn't to compete with China but rather to build the state's capacity to get in on the ground floor with new technologies.

New Mexico Lab Stops Shipping After Sending Mislabeled WasteSanta Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

Officials at a New Mexico laboratory halted all shipments of hazardous and mixed low-level radioactive waste for nearly three months after realizing they transported mislabeled refuse to a facility near Denver.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the labeling incident, which apparently happened in November, was the third time in 13 months Los Alamos National Laboratory shipped waste to the Henderson, Colorado, facility, Veolia ES Technical Solutions, with incorrect information about the chemicals inside.

It also set into motion a series of events that could cause the lab to incur up to $1 million in state penalties.

Under state regulations, a violation can result in fines of as much as a $10,000 per day. The five containers were in violation of the permit for at least 20 days.

The lab paused shipments between Dec. 18 and Feb. 28.

Airmen Accused Of Rape Released On BondEastern New Mexico News, Associated Press

Three airmen at a New Mexico Air Force base who are awaiting trial on rape charges were released on bond.

The Eastern New Mexico News reports defense attorney Ben Herrmann said Monday he is glad his client, Senior Airman Thomas Newton, and his two co-defendants, Airman First Class Isiah Edley and Airman First Class Rahman Buchanan, of Cannon Air Force Base, were out of custody after spending the past two months in jail.

Court records say the three were arrested in January and charged with second-degree criminal sexual penetration after a female airman told police they assaulted her at a house party in Clovis.

All three men have pleaded not guilty to the charge.

A five-day trial is tentatively set for mid-October.